By MATT RAWLINGS
Of the Keizertimes
The 2019 Oregon Golden Gloves Championship Tournament will take place at the Salem Armory this weekend and will feature the best amateur boxers the state has to offer.
The tournament starts Friday, Feb.1 with the elimination round taking place at 6:30 p.m. The championship round will begin the following day at 3 p.m.
General admission tickets for Friday’s elimination round will be $15 ($5 for kids under the age of 12) and $20 on Saturday ($10 for kids under 12).
Ringside floor seating will be $35.
This is a non-profit event with the proceeds going towards travel expenses for the tournament winners that move on to the Regional Tournament in Las Vegas.
Thirty-seven fighters are scheduled to be on the lineup card this weekend.
Keizer resident Dan Dunn, who has been the director of Oregon Golden Gloves since last year, believes that a lot of these athletes will be competing at the next level.
“These guys are the elite of the elite as far as Oregon amateurs are concerned,” Dunn said.
“This is their last stop before turning pro. These guys are good.”
One of the main headliners for this tournament is Salem’s Omar Murrillo.
Murrillo, who is a 2020 Olympic hopeful, was the 2018 Oregon Golden Gloves Tournament winner in the 165-pound division and also received the Golden Warrior Award — which is given to the top overall athlete at the tournament.
“Omar is one of those guys that you knew was going to be special,” Dunn said. “Everyone shows up expecting him to win. All the pros know he’s coming up.”
Apolinar Lopez, who is from Keizer, will also be one of the main contenders — he was the 132-pound winner in last year’s Golden Gloves tournament.
“(Lopez) is pretty graceful when he moves around,” Dunn said.
“He has great situational awareness in the ring.”
Salem resident Jon Pena (114 lbs) is the other local fighter that will be competing in this event.
Along with spending the last four months organizing this event, Dunn also has been training Murrillo, Lopez and Pena.
It may be a stressful task, but for Dunn, it really is all about the passion he has for the sport that he loves.
“What I love about amateur boxing is it’s like one big family,” Dunn said. “People are going to see excellent fighting, but you will also see excellent sportsmanship.” “
“These guys love each other….They also know how to compete at a high level. It’s going to be very exciting to watch.”